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Thread: New Voyages of the Paper Canoe

  1. #1

    Default New Voyages of the Paper Canoe

    Potomac River near Poolesville, MD. . .

    Put in at Edward's Ferry for the first time in the paper canoe and met some friends in their kayaks.

    After making sure it didn't sink, and would go where I pointed it, went to play around on the water and test the different sitting positions.

    Water was warm, no wind, and a great sunset made us feel like we didn't need to rush to get back before dark.
    This was as close as I would get to christening the craft, as I didn't know if it would take a blow to the bow too well, and of course I didn't want to waste any beer. Ended up spilling some in the bilge anyway. . .

    Paddled back to the launching area in the dark, enjoying the stillness and some more libations. While sitting in the relative darkness, a fish bigger than my hand jumped out of the water port side, flew in front of my face, and re-entered starboard side. I thought this was a good omen for the first splashing of the paper canoe.

  2. #2


    Fantastic! A bit of warmth

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Atlanta, Georgia, USA


    Sounds like you've got Asian carp in the Potomac.

    The only time I was on the Potomac was coming off Antietam Creek. Is your boat essentially paper mache, a construction often used in the 1800s?

  4. #4

    Default voyages continued. . .

    Wow, maybe that splashing fish wasn't an especially good omen for the Potomac then. Pretty certain there are all kinds of non-natives in the water, with one of the more notorious being the Snakehead.

    There's a description of the build on a thread in the Self Build section, and I've started a blog at

    The first splash had the boat floating for a little over 3 hours, with only a solo adult passenger. The next would require an addition of two kid passengers. Again, a warm September, starting at the Mouth of the Monocacy where it enters the Potomac. In the background of this picture you can see the Monocacy aqueduct. When it was in service, it allowed barges on the C&O Canal loaded with goods move over this water on their way to Georgetown or Cumberland.

    Weather was warm and sunny, with no wind, and the kids thought they'd try the boat as a fishing platform.

    I had never intended to have multiple passengers in this boat, but Mom was out at work that day, so we improvised. The kids are sitting on Thermarest camp chairs which offer some back support, and I'm resting my back on the kneeling thwart, swivelled into a comfortable
    Seems to be just enough room up front for a 7 year old. . .

    And here is the room behind me. You can see I'm sitting on my PFD, and if you look closely you can see there is room for some weapons of mass distraction: several squirt guns and a Disny Princesses fishing pole. . .

    And room in the stern for a 5 year old to plot her next move toward river domination. . .

    Out on the Potomac we caught site of a bald eagle

    Which was soon scared off, but our friend Shawn thought there must be some fish nearby there, so he went to give it a try with his expensive flyrod...

    While some of us enjoyed other hobbies. . .

    The 5 year old eventually convinced her minions to commandeer the paper boat, and thus launch the plot for river domination. . .

    Of course, the plot continued onto land, as they scaled the rocky ramparts. . .

    Lots of splashing on the water, lots of exploring, lots of snacks and beverages, and a good time was had by all. And in the end, the Disney Princesses fishing pole caught as many as the expensive flyrod!

    Total floating time so far on the paper boat: 7.5 hours

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Downriver from the Bywell bridge over the Tyne


    Great blogg, just love to see kids enjoying themselves

    "Der Hirsch springt hoch,
    Der Hirsch springt weit.
    Es macht ja nichts........
    Er hat ja Zeit"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    South Lakes


    Great stuff and even the bow of a kayak.

    May the gentleness of morning, greet your silent passage through endless waters...

    May all your winds be gentle. And for ww - May it rain the night before.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Atlanta, Georgia, USA


    I read through the history articles on paper boats. Very interesting, though perhaps leaving just enough to the imagination to deter imitation--- for me at least.

    But consider, if we could genetically modify hornets, they could spend a season making a nest the shape and size of a canoe, and then we could evict them and solidify the outer layer of paper with spray varnish.... clean out the inside, perhaps reserving honeycomb for reinforcing the boat ends....

  8. #8

    Default More hours on the water

    Evicting the hornets might be a little more exciting than I need, though if we could somehow cross them with termites, we might get a mound/hive shape more like a dugout canoe, and then could just lure them away with an old wooden boat.

    Later in October I took the crew to the Monocacy again, though this time the 7 year old wanted to captain his own boat. Hadn't put the paper boat on the car with another vessel yet, and wasn't sure how it would do with different compression/ load strains.

    Loaded them like this, and everything seemed fine. . .

    Started off going upstream this time, and of course the youngster on his own took off like a colt. Little sister and I glided along at a much more leisurely pace. . .

    Stopped for snacks, exploring, and stone skipping near a railroad bridge crossing. Made for a good view of a train and exciting noise as it crossed.

    Then went back downstream to meet up with the Potomac River. Water was low and choked with weeds. We tried some fishing, and fortunately the fish didn't bother us at all.

    We tooled around some, and called it a day. Had to drag the boats back up stream and through the weeds to get back to the boat ramp. Still didn't seem to slow the young'un down much.

    Had sloshed a lot of water into the paper boat, and hadn't brought a sponge. The latex 'Drylock' coating on the inside seems to be allowing it to delaminate a bit, but this is what the stern looked like after roughly 10 hours of floating on the water. . .

    Hasn't melted quite yet.

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